Facing the possibility of not being allowed to host the 2020 Olympic Golf competition, Kasumigaseki Country Club eliminated its restrictions on women members, the club announced Monday.
Olympic officials had threatened to find another venue if the private course northwest of Tokyo failed to alter its policy, which barred women from full membership and from playing on Sundays. The approval required unanimous support from a 15-man board.
Yoshiro Mori, president of the Tokyo Olympic organizing committee, praised the move.
“I’d like to extend my gratitude to the members of the club for their understanding and cooperation,” he said in a statement.
Olympic officials did not scrutinize Kasumigaseki’s membership policty when they initially tabbed the club as host for Olympic Golf. The policy first drew worldwide attention when Tokyo’s first female governor, Yuriko Koike, publicly disapproved of it and asked club officials to change it.
The decision comes less than a week after the Honourable Company of Edinburgh Golfers voted to admit women members at Muirfield, prompting the R&A to welcome Muirfield back into the Open Championship rota. The Open could return to that prestigious venue as early as 2022.
Kasumigaseki was founded in 1929 and has allowed women to play for nearly all of its history, but this will be the first time they are afforded full rights.